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Can my Legal Representative attend a Child Protection Conference with me?
- AuthorEmily Jones
What is a Child Protection Conference?
A Child Protection Conference is a multi-agency meeting arranged by the Local Authority. The purpose of the conference is for family members and professionals involved in a child’s life to share information in a respectful manner and decide the best ways to keep a child safe.
The professionals will discuss the worries and concerns that they have about a child in this meeting. They will then be asked to make a recommendation as to whether they believe your child should be made subject to a Child Protection Plan, or if the concerns can be managed with a lower level of support.
Please see the below linked article for further information on the levels of intervention offered to families.
Who will be invited to a Child Protection Conference?
There are many core professionals who may be invited to attend a Child Protection Conference for your child.
The meeting will be chaired by an Independent Reviewing Officer. This means that they are separate from your child’s social worker and their team, but they will still work for the same Local Authority.
They will lead the conference and ask everybody to share their views in turn.
The parents of the subject child will be invited to attend the conference, they may also request that their family members join them for support.
Your child’s social worker and potentially their Team Manager will attend the conference.
If your child is unborn or is a young baby, it is likely that the Health Visitor and Midwife will attend the conference.
If your child attends a nursery or is of school age, it is likely that a representative will attend.
If the police are involved with your family, they may be invited to attend.
Any other professionals such as Mental Health specialists, Probation Officers, or Turning Point workers may also be asked to attend.
Why have I been invited to a child protection conference?
The Local Authority will arrange a Child Protection Conference if they are worried that your child is suffering or is at risk of suffering significant harm. The harm they are referring to could fall into the category of neglect, physical, emotional, or sexual harm.
If the professionals decide that your child is suffering or is at risk of suffering significant harm, this means that the threshold is met for a Child Protection Plan under one of the categories of harm mentioned above.
Please see the below linked article for further information on the categories of harm.
What is a Child Protection Plan?
A Child Protection Plan will include a Danger Statement which will detail the Local Authorities specific concerns, and Safety Goals, which will explain the actions that you and your safety network must take to keep your child safe. A Child Protection Plan will be reviewed after 3 months and every 6 months thereafter, and the same professionals will be invited to attend each review to offer updates. The purpose of a Child Protection Plan is to keep children free from harm and support parents to follow the actions set out in the plan.
Can my Legal Representative attend with me?
You CAN instruct a solicitor to attend with you. Johnson Astills assist parents by attending Child Protection Conferences.
Your legal representative can discuss the Child Protection Plan with you. Johnson Astills can offer you advice and help you to understand the legal aspects of Local Authority involvement with your family.
However, your legal representative will NOT have an active role at the conference. They will not be able to speak on your behalf or contribute to the meeting.
This means that they cannot say whether they recommend that your child should be subject to a Child Protection Plan or not.
Legal Aid may be available, and Johnson Astills would be happy to discuss your eligibility with you.
Please get in touch with Johnson Astills today and we would be more than happy to discuss your requirements further. Please call us at our office in Leicester on 0116 255 4855 or our office in Loughborough on 01509 610 312 and ask to speak to a member of the Care Team. Alternatively, you may prefer to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in our enquiry form.